14 June 2024

High Court applications lodged

A quick and important update –

EJA lawyers have just applied for special leave to appeal to the High Court over the landmark Living Wonders climate cases, on behalf of our client the Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECoCeQ).

The small volunteer group has applied to Australia's highest court to challenge the Environment Minister’s refusal to properly assess the climate impacts of two huge coal mine expansions in NSW: Narrabri and Mount Pleasant.

  • MACH Energy wants to run the biggest coal mine in Australia until nearly 2050 at Mount Pleasant.
  • Whitehaven-backed Narrabri Coal wants to keep mining enormous quantities of coal from Narrabri until 2044.
  • These two coal mines alone will fuel billions of tonnes of climate emissions in coming years.

If the Court grants our client leave to appeal, this will be the first time that Australia’s High Court will consider the scope or operation of Australia’s national environmental law.

ECoCeQ President Christine Carlisle says the community group would rather not take this to the High Court, but they feel they have no choice.

If granted special leave, ECoCeQ will ask the High Court to clarify the Australian Environment Minister’s legal obligations when assessing huge coal mines for their grave risk of climate harm.

While Minister Tanya Plibersek says she accepts that coal and gas mines have adverse effects on our climate and environment, our client argues she’s unlawfully refusing to act on that harm.

They say climate impacts on our environment need to be properly assessed under our environment laws.

There are currently 117 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline in Australia – and 35 new coal projects on the Environment Minister’s desk awaiting approval right now.

You can read more about the Living Wonders climate cases, explore the thousands of pieces of evidence (search by species) and find out more about the coal and gas projects in need of proper assessment at livingwonders.org.au.

We’ll keep you updated as this important public interest litigation continues.

Thanks for standing with ECoCeQ.

Environment Council of Central Queensland and EJA Senior Specialist Lawyer Retta Berryman.

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